Celtics fierce in bounceback win over Hornets

Celtics fierce in bounceback win over Hornets

There was a heightened level of aggressiveness by the Boston Celtics from the opening tip-off Saturday night.

They were embarrassed by the lack of physical play on their part in a road loss at Chicago two nights earlier.



However you want to describe it, the Celtics were hell bent on not getting their heads handed to them for the second time in as many games.

And that mentality set the tone for Saturday’s 104-98 win over the Hornets which extended Boston’s winning streak at Charlotte to four in a row.

“We came out with more force and we definitely set the tone early,” Boston’s Jae Crowder told reporters after the win. “That was definitely one of our key points tonight. We showed that early.”

Aggressive play isn’t knocking guys to the floor defensively or trying to dunk on someone’s head every other possession.

Boston wanted to exploit whatever Charlotte’s defense was willing to give them.

Early on that was the 3-point shot and the Celtics showed no hesitation in taking it and then making it, with regularity.

Boston opened the game with a 15-7 run, with all 15 points coming on 3-pointers. For the game, Boston was 15-for-31 from 3-point range.

Once the Hornets seemed to cool Boston’s perimeter shooters off, the Celtics then went to attacking the Charlotte interior which was a lot easier to do with Roy Hibbert (knee) not playing.

Boston outscored Charlotte 36-32 on points in the paint.

Avery Bradley (31 points, 11 rebounds, four assists) had a monster game for the Celtics (2-1), and Isaiah Thomas (24 points) continued to deliver big shots when needed.

But this victory was as much about Boston elevating its game emotionally as it was them simply executing at both ends of the floor.

They could have easily brushed aside the loss at Chicago as just an early season setback, knowing there were many games left on the schedule to play.

But they took the Bulls loss very personal; to the point where they refused to accept it as anything other than a bad loss that they had to rectify immediately.

No one seemed more bothered by the Bulls loss than Crowder who had a near double-double with nine points and nine rebounds to go with four assists, two steals and three blocked shots.

And he made it clear to his teammates prior to and during Saturday’s game, that things had to change tonight.

That’s why Bradley felt the real player of the night was Crowder.

“He got everybody fired up,” Bradley said. “He was playing hard on the defensive end, kind of got everybody going.”

For Crowder, Saturday’s victory has to become part of a pattern in which the Celtics consistently find ways to improve from one game to the next.

“We gotta go and we have to get better each game,” Crowder said. “We talked about a lot of things up until this game. We just have to try and get better each game. That’s our focus.”

The idea of starting the season by losing two of the first three games was not something Crowder was willing to accept.

“That’s not the road we wanted to go down,” he said. “We felt we let one drop in Chicago the other night. We really wanted this one bad.”

Greg Monroe looks comfortable as bigger offensive focal point

Greg Monroe looks comfortable as bigger offensive focal point

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum dropped 23 points, snatched 11 rebounds and Boston’s injury-riddled roster squeaked out a 100-99 upset win over Oklahoma City.

It was a good game for Tatum, but teammate Marcus Morris wasn’t moved one bit by Tatum’s historical performance.

“Now it’s not. … I’m not even impressed no more,” Morris said. “It’s to the point where I know what he’s going to bring, I know what he’s capable of. So it’s more like, I expect that now just being around, watching him play day-in and day-out, practicing with him.”

Teammates agree that the 20-year-old Tatum is growing up right before our eyes.

“With Jaylen and Kyrie being out, he’s looking to be more aggressive,” said Boston’s Al Horford. “Everybody is going to talk about offense, but on the defensive end he didn’t have an easy matchup, going against Paul George. I felt like he did a great job.”

Here are five other takeaways from Boston’s 100-99 comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.


Boston’s second unit is still getting the job done even as injuries rob it of its core group that includes Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier who are now both starters. The Celtics’ new-look second unit was still impactful in Boston’s 100-99 squeaker past the Oklahoma City Thunder. Against the Thunder, Boston’s bench outscored Oklahoma City 35-10.


The big man continues to come up big for the Boston Celtics off the bench. Injuries have forced other key reserves into the starting lineup which has led to Monroe becoming an even bigger focal point offensively when he’s on the floor. Against the Thunder, he had 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting with six rebounds.


You never really know what you’re going to get from the Boston Celtics when it comes to rebounding the basketball. Well, Tuesdaynight was the good rebounding Celtics whose ability to control the glass was a huge factor in the victory as Boston out-rebounded Oklahoma City 52-44.


Remember how Marcus Smart would struggle to make shots, and still play major minutes and still make a meaningful impact? Well, Semi Ojeleye had that kind of game for the Celtics. The 6-foot-6 rookie missed all six of his field goal attempts, but showed some serious versatility against the Thunder with defensive stints on each of Oklahoma City’s Big Three of Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Russell Westbrook.


Marcus Morris made the game-winner and Jayson Tatum was as strong on the floor as we’ve ever seen him. But arguably the biggest X-factor in Boston’s win was the play of Larkin. His ability to control the flow of the game, getting his teammates in and out of sets was critical to the win, as was his offense. For the game, Larking had 13 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field.

NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

File Photo

NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

The NBA officials' Last Two Minute report for Tuesday is out, and boy did the Celtics get away with one!

The league admitted to missing two infractions -- both committed by Marcus Morris -- on the possession on which Morris hit a game-winning three-pointer against the Thunder. 

The C's began the possession with Morris inbounding the ball, but a stopwatch revealed to the league that Morris did not release the ball within the five seconds allotted on an inbounding play. Had the correct call been made, the ball would have been turned over to the Thunder, who at the time held a two-point lead with 7.7 seconds remaining. 

Furthermore, video replay led the league to determine that Morris traveled prior to taking the shot. The video evidence that suggested this was that Morris was wearing an NBA jersey in the video, but also he moved his pivot foot prior to the release of his dribble. That call would have also given the Thunder the ball. 

What these nerds didn't consider is that the basketball gods have more power than their stopwatches. What a win.